The principal goal of this textbook is to provide clear and elementary descriptions of the major statistical techniques used in political and social science research.
The book is built on two basic assumptions. First, that it is possible to explain social science statistics in a simple and straightforward manner so that students with a minimal background in math can understand even fairly advanced techniques, such as multiple and logistic regression.
Second, that undergraduate and even graduate students have less trouble in understanding specific techniques than in interpreting what statistical results mean substantively.
Consequently, the book stresses the interpretation of research findings.In essence, the book argues that political science research is like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together.
Pieces of information - statistical and non-statistical - must be assembled and interpreted both logically and creatively.The text is organized in a unique manner, using the various techniques being discussed to analyze the current state of the United States as it seemingly stands at a crossroads in both its political orientations and socioeconomic nature.
To make the statistical interpretation more meaningful and easier to understand, the results throughout the book are integrated by their focus upon two central questions related to the theme of America at a Crossroads: Are Americans conservative or liberal in their political beliefs?
How do economic and social outcomes in America compare to those in other developed democracies?